Okay, so after all of my complaining over last week’s episode, I am happy to say that this week’s Cloak & Dagger episode, “Blue Note” was actually very good. I still have some issues, which maybe just more of a personal thing, and my personal qualms will be the basis for this week’s review. With that said, let’s dive into what worked and what still made me uneasy this week.
This week was all about finding out what makes Andre tick. We found out that his headaches hampered his career as a jazz trumpeter. As he told us a few weeks ago, he felt so bad about not being able to become the jazz star he wanted to be because of his headaches that he was about to end his life. The night he was about to die by suicide happened to be the same night that the Roxxon rig exploded, giving him the ability to absorb people’s hopes, much like Tandy, and become absorbed in his own fears, much like Tyrone.
Andre’s story is gripping, no doubt. But even with us knowing some of Andre’s backstory, I still wonder if his story was set up as thoroughly as it could have been. For instance, when Andre was just a simple jazz trumpeter, I wondered why it seemed like his talk of “becoming a god” felt shoehorned in. I know this is not my show, but I just don’t know if pre-Roxxon Andre would have talked about life like that. Or, if he is supposed to sound a touch villainous even as a regular person, then I wish we got more of a reason as to why he was so megalomaniacal even as a jazz artist. Also, while migraines can make a person become depressed because of how debilitating the condition can be, I wonder why Andre never sought treatment for his condition. What’s the story behind that?
There could be a tremendous story that the show could have delved into if it had the time—what if Andre, a struggling jazz artist, didn’t have enough money to afford proper insurance, therefore leaving him having to deal with horrendous migraines on his own? As he alluded to, the night he collapsed on the stage was seemingly the night he felt like he could have made it big. What if he was banking on his chance at success not just for the fame and ego trip, but because it would have been able to help him afford much-needed treatment? What if he blames himself for not being able to make it through his set, thus costing him what he felt was his opportunity of a lifetime at money and viable options for treating his neurological illness? Just spitballing here. At any rate, I just feel like there’s something missing between Point A—his migraines—and Point Z—his supervillainous thirst for control.
At any rate, we did get some backstory on Lia. She, too, was a musician in another life, but her parents wanted her to go into medicine instead. It’s a story of parental control many of us can relate to. It’s also a story that Andre mistakenly latched onto as he recovered in the hospital, under Lia’s care. But again, something’s just not clear to me. Why does Andre tell Lia he needs her? If he’s realized he has this power to take people’s hopes and prey on their fears, why not just bump into any stranger on the street and capture their memories? Why does he need Lia to help him invade people’s minds? Maybe I’m missing something. If so, let me know in the comments.
But despite my nitpicks, we got some great acting this episode from Brooklyn McLinn, who portrays Andre in the series. As you can see from what I’ve written above, I feel like McLinn has had to fill in some of the blanks with his character. But he’s giving this character his all, and I appreciate it wholeheartedly. Ditto for Lia. While we’ve only seen sketches of her character, Lia’s actress Dilshad Vadsaria is giving it all she’s got. They are doing the utmost in selling these characters and the season would certainly be worse without them as part of the cast.
Tyrone and Tandy take charge
I feel like we finally felt Tyrone and Tandy grow up in this episode. Tyrone took the streets in his own hands and had the kid he saved from the gang help him set up a meeting with the rival gang leaders. It was a meeting in which Tyrone flexed his Cloak powers and demanded that the gangs stop doing their dirty business, or they’d have to answer to him. I appreciated seeing this more mature side of Tyrone, and I particularly liked when he had the heart-to-heart with the kid. As they talked about a news article discussing Luke Cage, Tyrone told his new friend how he could be a hero just by standing up for what’s right. I felt like we needed to see this type of talk on screen, and it was only right that it was Tyrone giving it to another Black young man, who could be an avatar for any young Black boy watching the show.
Meanwhile, Tandy hemmed and hawed over whether she wanted to indulge in some bloodlust or not. After impossibly securing a comatose Lia (not dead, like I thought last week) from the police, Tandy and Mayhem tried to pry information out of her. If they couldn’t get anything, Tandy was willing to kill her with her bare hands and light-knives. But, after going into Lia’s mind, Tandy quickly changes her tune. She realized that Lia was just as much of a victim as Andre, since she was Andre’s first-ever victim and became ensnared in his trap.
However, Tandy’s newfound pacificism doesn’t sit well with Mayhem, and the two duke it out, with Mayhem going so far as to call Tandy as weak as Lia. Her statement proves what I said about Tandy’s ordeal with trafficking teaching her some things about life. She tells Mayhem that fighting back doesn’t make you less of a victim, something we know she’s learned first-hand. Tandy wins the fight and saves Lia’s life. So with Lia’s life now in her hands, she drops Lia off at a hospital to receive treatment while she and Tyrone try to find Andre before he fulfills his calling of becoming a god.
Down to the final battle
If the final scenes from the episode are any indication, Tandy and Tyrone aren’t successful in their mission and Andre does, in fact, become some sort of a god. His ascension even causes his victims, including Tandy’s mother, to disappear. The mystery of Final Boss Andre is one that will be solved next week, but right now, I still have my own mystery to solve, which is figuring out why I didn’t really care for this season.
It started out very strong, but somehow, the season felt like it lost its way. Maybe it got too bogged down in topics way too heavy to handle. Maybe it was too precious with its storytelling, something the series suffered from even at times during the first season. Maybe some of the characterizations were rushed, unlike last season, in which it felt like everyone’s motivations had been thought out to the letter. Since I’m not in the writers’ room, I have no idea what got downgraded this season.
With that said, though, this season has still been thought-provoking and, despite its lagging quality, it’s still one of the best, if not the best, superhero show on TV right now. It has a lot it wants to say and for the most part, it gets its points across. It’s a strong show and a defining entry in Marvel’s television catalog. In short, I still love the show. But I’m wondering if this season will stick the landing. Will we get a finale that is worth our time? Or will we get more preciousness? We’ll see next week.
To follow in the footsteps of this week’s episode, if you feel you or a loved one needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
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